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The format of Judges is a collection of individual stories which tell the history of Israel during a specific era. Judges pictures a mixture of good and bad behavior: the judges are not idealized, nor is their portrait uniformly negative.

The pattern introduced in Judges 2:11-23 is the overall plot of the book:
1. The Israelites do what is evil in the sight of God;
2. God allows the nation to be conquered and oppressed by a neighboring nation;
3. The people cry to God; and
4. God sends a judge to deliver them.
Then the cycle repeats itself.
In addition to this cycle, the book is structured on the premise of a double plot. The overall story is one of national descent into lawlessness and apostasy; but within this national narrative lies a collection of stories that celebrate the heroic exploits of judges, demonstrating the grace of God in the midst of his sinful people. Even though they had severe flaws, four of these judges are mentioned among the heroes of the faith (Hebrews 11).

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